Make sure your business will survive
- the question is not IF, it's WHEN !
Real-time, no-delay data mirroring
Hand-off fully automated 24x7 operations
No more than 5% performance overhead
Today's sad news is that the disasters of the 20th century
seem somehow comforting in the face of disasters from the
21st. We know we can survive the tragedies, the question
is how to survive the mess.
Disasters may come in the form of a server crash, power outage, a cut in communications cables, a fire, or natural disaster. An outage always disrupts your business, causing a loss of productivity, critical information, or worse, a loss of revenue. Whatever the cause, you need to minimize data loss by restoring access to your files as quickly as possible and when downed servers are restored, their respective files need to be restored as well.
The risks and the devastating effects of disasters resulting in computer downtime are obvious and always pose a pressing issue to any business running critical applications. Business organizations demand 100% fault tolerance and continuous availability of their computing systems. Relying on traditional, full system backups means that any critical data and transactions executed after the last system backup are lost forever. The use of traditional backups also means that data at the remote site always lags behind, so that the remote computers can not be used for online production processing and can only be utilized in course of a disaster-recovery scenario. For this reason, these vital and expensive resources are idle while the primary computer, in many cases, is over-loaded and suffering from deteriorated performance.
What categories do your potential disasters fit into? - natural, man-made, or technology-driven?
In a world of real time transactions, just-in-time inventory, and supply chain dynamics, losing a phone system may wreak more chaos than a fire in the building. Today, having a Business Continuity Plan is a necessity in the eyes of many insurers, bankers, stakeholders and regulators. Audits of those plans are becoming more commonplace and comprehensive. If you think business continuity means backing up your data and creating redundant systems, then maybe you need our help.
The challenge is to replicate files to a secondary machine, maintaining their availability and protection. If a server goes down, these files are readily accessible and end users can continue working with them.
DRMS is a software solution that provides reliable, bi-directional
real-time data backup and mirroring over existing Stratus
networks. At any given time, all critical remote databases
are identical to the primary database, which ensures rapid
and reliable application recovery. Networked computers
mirror each other providing flexible, scaleable load-balancing
solution utilizing the full computing capacity of the
hardware at both the primary and remote locations. DRMS
replicates sequential, fixed, relative and stream files
(including transaction-protected files) as well as, one-way-server-queue
and message queues. DRMS dynamically detects and replicates
newly created critical files so that no configuration
changes are necessary. The internal design of DRMS puts
great emphasis on protecting the business application
and on preserving the primary computer's current performance.
DRMS is external to the business application and requires
absolutely no application or any software changes - its
operation is completely transparent to the user.
Production and Remote
databases always identical
the image to enlarge DRMS Components
to other platforms - Open Architechture
DRMS can be used to mirror data into any SQL databases
that may reside on any platform via TCP/IP. Based on known
data layouts and user-provided templates, DRMS can be
used to convert any VOS data into standard text-only formats
such as comma-delimited, XML etc. Such output is then
transmitted to remote ODBC databases or written to local
VOS files or queues for further processing.
As a software-only solution, DRMS offers total configuration
flexibility and scalability. Any number of modules can
mirror each other. The administrator can select and identify
critical data files, directories or disks - all within
DRMS' configuration. DRMS can simultaneously mirror critical
data in any direction (A-to-B, B-to-A, B-to-C etc.). DRMS
supports all VOS platforms and all VOS releases.
DRMS is designed to run 24x7 without any human intervention.
DRMS dynamically manages all aspects of error detection,
handling and recovery including alternate routing and
communication line switching - always utilizing the entire
"The DRMS product has been stable and has worked reliably since we first installed it in August 97. " Anders Carlsson, ICA
DRMS requires no application changes whatsoever. It is
extremely simple to learn, implement and operate on a
daily basis and requires no specific training. The implementation
phase of the software can be completed within a few days,
once all critical data files or directories have been
identified and listed in DRMS' configuration table (DRMS
uses only one TIN file!). DRMS requires no additional
hardware as it utilizes existing networks and supports
both TCP-IP and X.25 connections.
"The complete DRMS implementation took about 2 weeks. The installation of the product and the learning curve was done within only one day. Most of the time was spend on analyzing which critical files to mirror, fine-tuning our configuration and running benchmark tests." Anders Carlsson, ICA
"The product was easy to configure and implement … there is nothing more that one table to configure and we were able to do that with simple phone support." Andy Orrock, Tosco Corporation
DRMS replicates VOS internal commands, such as copy_file,
move_file, rename, create_file etc. so that any after-hours
batch cycles and command-macros are also mirrored accurately
at the remote site.
and reporting facilities
DRMS includes a robust and user-friendly administrator
interface. The operator can monitor the system and all
aspects of the data mirroring activities - number of I/Os,
queuing operations, transaction throughput, processing
rate etc. These monitors provide, at all times great sense
of control over the system. DRMS maintains and reports
activities both on system-level as well as on a per-file
basis down to the lowest details of how many I/O operations
were made on each critical file broken down by I/O type
The s$-Usage Monitor provides a real-time view of the application's I/O activities.
Since most of the processing takes place at the target
system, DRMS has practically no impact on performance
of the primary (sending) computer.
"Performance of DRMS is terrific - data is mirrored immediately over our 1 MB pipe. We attribute much of the gain in our performance efficiency to the fact that we deployed DRMS to replace a 'homegrown' mirroring solution that was patched together by our OLTP vendor. There is not any sign of page faulting. I rate that as very little overhead, considering that we're updating 2-3 files for each transaction and running at about 14-15 TPS when I took this measurement." Andy Orrock, Tosco Corporation
"We were also surprised with the results of our performance tests - during normal system load the overhead of DRMS is not noticeable at and, and during peak time (25 transactions/per second) we've measured an overhead of no more than 5%." Anders Carlsson, ICA
does DRMS work?
During run-time, DRMS intercepts all I/O operations performed
on files marked by the system administrator as "critical".
After the I/O operation is completed, DRMS passes the
information to the DRMS Server for transmission to the
target system. The corresponding DRMS server on the target
computer collects these messages and executes the I/O
operation within the remote databases. The only additional
work that a mirrored operation requires is the sending
of the message to the DRMS queue. The entire operation
is therefore completed with minimal impact on the end-user's
- Provide rapid & reliable data replication of mission critical applications to any file system on any platform, such as Stratus VOS, MS ACCESS, MS SQL, ORACLE, DB2, INFORMIX SYBASE etc.
- Ease development of browser based (GUI) applications
- Access Stratus Data from more common development environment (NT, UNIX etc.)
- Shift CPU intensive report writing, decision support systems and date warehouse applications away from Stratus to more economical (and less critical) environment
- Develop or extend your IT strategy to enable gradual and parallel development of alternate solutions
expertise and Support
"SoftMark worked closely with Stratus to ensure their
systems operated in concert to provide the highest levels
of service for Tosco." Stratus Computer news brief, September
"The product's reliability and SoftMark's extraordinary responsiveness to our business needs and support questions has made the implementation of our Disaster-Recovery plans an easy, pleasant and trouble-free experience." Anders Carlsson, ICA
"We rate Application Resources (the distributor of DRMS) and SoftMark (developer/owner) as our best vendors in terms of problem/issue turnaround. Even after-hours, there is no discernible drop-off in resolution speed "). It became very apparent from our discussions that they really understood the issues behind disaster recovery. Andy Orrock, Tosco Corporation
"SoftMark's technical support and responsiveness is outstanding. Their continued advice and close involvement with our project has made the integration of this product into a very large production system a manageable task." Alex Tulchinsky, AOL
"SoftMark has provided us with a high level of support and has always been responsive to our business needs." Todd Brown, Sherwood Securities
Frequently asked questions
- What kind of system overhead should I expect?
Overhead depends entirely on user application and mirroring requirements: the rate of I/O, average buffer size and number of critical applications and files. Typically, you should expect not more than 5% overall system overhead.
- Is it really that simple?
Not at all! Achieving complete, reliable and efficient data mirroring and planning for Disaster Recovery is not an easy or simple matter. For this reason, keeping-it-simple was our most important objective in the DRMS design:
- The user must not struggle with the new product. We provide sample configuration, start-up macros and a Demo application with its complete source code.
- DRMS must be installed, configured and should demonstrate real-time mirroring for the Demo application within 5-10 minutes!
- The user is expected to understand the mechanics of the software within 30 minutes.
- Do you provide any on-site assistance for
Absolutely! At your request we'll conduct an on-site study for the purpose of setting up a Hot Backup facility for your critical application. We will review all hardware involved, analyze system performance and utilization (CPU, Disk space, I/O activities, Comms., etc), application load. We will also review all your management and operation procedures. Our detailed report will provide you with a step by step plan for setting up and implementing your Hot Backup and all other application recovery procedures. Typically, the scope of this study goes beyond Hot Backup analysis as it includes analysis of system performance and a detailed plan for securing and automating your day to day Stratus operations to reduce the likelihood and risks of system failures.
- What happens to mirroring when my communication
line is down? What happens to my application?
The product is designed to protect the primary application - failed mirroring will have no affect on your application. When communication is restored, DRMS will automatically continue to mirror from the point of failure.
- Can DRMS mirror our VM (virtual memory) region
Absolutely. Many users of TCAM's software have asked us for this feature. We have a TCAM-specific design that allows VM mirroring with 50% less mirroring related I/O and network traffic. For a more detailed overview, please contact our technical support.
- Am I required to run the primary application
for the company on the Hot Backup system? If so, what
is the main purpose?
Normally, the DRMS Server will perform all I/O on
the Hot Backup module, so it is absolutely NOT required
to run the application. However, if software licensing
is not an issue, there may be cases for executing
the application on the backup machine.
- What are, if any, the hardware requirements?
Does the Primary and Hot Backup systems have to be running
on the same processor type (Cisc/Risc/Continuum)?
Absolutely not! The only requirement is that you will have sufficient communication bandwidth to the Backup site and a platform that will be able to keep up with the primary module.
- Can I specify files, queues, directories or
DRMS has no concept of logical disks. The configuration layer allows you to select files and queues (1-way-server-queues and message-queues). Star-names are also supported, so if you need to mirror all files in a specific directory.
- I am using two production sites
and maintain one backup site for both. Will I be able
to mirror the two production systems to the backup site?
DRMS can be easily configured to accept input from multiple systems. The only requirement is sufficient bandwidth and resources at the Backup site to carry the load.